The 21 Daily Routines and Habits of Highly Productive Founders and Creatives

2022-09-26 0 By Seamus

Never hit Snooze

The 21 Daily Routines and Habits of Highly Productive Founders and Creatives

What is a Help Desk?

According to studies, up to 40% of our daily actions are powered by habits. Meaning your subconscious mind can either work for you or against you. But you don’t need studies to tell you how powerful the right habits can be. Whole books have been filled with the daily routines of successful entrepreneurs, innovators, and creatives. While Aristotle is famously miscredited for saying: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

So if you’re ready to become the best version of you and put your productivity on “autopilot”, this post will debunk some of the common misconceptions around creating habits and routines and then guide you through a simple process for designing your perfect day.

Why follow a daily routine?

You might be familiar with the saying “good is the enemy of great.” And in a lot of cases, it might seem like following a daily routine and schedule is simply defaulting to “good enough.” When you follow a routine, you’re losing the excitement and spontaneity you need to be truly creative, right?

The only way you can do your best work is by putting in the time. Writers have to write. Coders need to code. Designers need to design. Unfortunately, that’s getting harder to do. Social media, entertainment, and the news (not to mention “productive” distractions like spending all day on chat or email!) suck away at our attention like vampires.

  • Routines help you prioritize what’s important. When you schedule your day a certain way or work hard to build specific habits, you’re essentially saying “this is what’s important to me.” Routines and habits force you to think hard about your priorities and make choices.
  • Knowing what you’re doing each day helps you block distractions. As the best-selling author, Nir Eyal writes, “You can’t say you’re distracted if you don’t know what you’re distracted from.” When you have a routine, you’re more likely to notice when something is trying to take away your attention.
  • Habits free up energy for more important tasks. The reason 40% of our actions are driven by habit is that our minds love to conserve energy. The more you can automate the things you do each day, the more mental space and energy you have to commit to more important tasks.
  • Daily routines and habits boost creativity. As we wrote in our Guide to Being More Creative, there’s no such thing as a creative muse. Instead, the most creative ideas come from working consistently and putting in the time.
  • Habits and routines drive you forward. More than anything, your habits and routines are what help you see progress and motivate you to do more.

What is the difference between a habit and a routine?

A habit is an action or behavior you’ve turned into an automatic response. Something triggers you (either externally like a notification, or internally like a certain feeling) and you’re compelled to follow it through.

A routine, on the other hand, is a string of habits you create for specific parts of the day. Maybe it’s a morning routine you do when you first wake up. Or an afternoon routine to help you get over the post-lunch dip. Whatever it is, we all have these routines. But we don’t all realize how powerful they are.

Practice Mindfulness

Meditation can do wonders to put you in a calm frame of mind before you run off to work. When you establish a daily practice, you’ll find that you feel calmer, more focused, and more patient. If you need a little help to get started, you can look for a local meditation class, or download the Headspace app to your phone. Headspace is a subscription-based service that provides guided meditations customized to your needs.

After 8 or more hours without eating, your brain and your body need fuel. It’s tempting to jump into work with just a cup of coffee in your belly but caffeine alone isn’t enough. When you’re preparing for your day the night before, try whipping up some overnight oats, or put some protein powder in a shaker bottle, ready and waiting — just add water.

Ideally, taking time to make a simple breakfast is best. I usually have choose from things like oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, or avocado toast. It doesn’t have to be a big meal and it doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes to prepare.

Stay away from sugary pastries or convenience foods, because the sugar will just cause your blood sugar (and energy) to crash mid-morning. And if you can limit (or eliminate) caffeine, you will be naturally awake when you get up and won’t need it to get you going in the morning!

Batch your time.

Time batching is an efficient way to get a lot done in a short amount of time. Think of it as productivity on steroids. Block out a few hours, turn off distractions, and let your productive self take over. Use this time to brainstorm, do some planning and creative problem solving, write, etc. Spend focused, uninterrupted time on your creative work and you’ll be amazed at what you can get done.

This is perhaps the hardest thing to do, with mobile devices at our fingertips 24/7. Work demands will always be there, and if you always have your nose in your phone, you’re missing out on life. Give your friends and family your full attention. Look around you. Look up once in awhile. Real-life experiences and connections are better than any picture on Instagram.